Student curators launch book exhibition

‘What are you reading?’ gives viewers a glimpse into Union Gallery’s archives

Image supplied by: Supplied by Union Gallery

Highlighting the beauty within its archives, Union Gallery has debuted a unique exhibition by student curators Charlotte Beyries, ArtSci ’23, and Anna Douglas, ArtSci ’22. 

Their interactive book exhibition What are you reading? opened in Stauffer Library’s Union Gallery on Sept. 7 and will be available to viewers until Dec. 11. 

What are you reading? features eye-catching images and newsletters from past exhibitions, as well as books that viewers are encouraged to pick up and read. It shows the different ways we consume art and media. 

The title What are you reading? welcomes viewers to think critically about what books and materials they’re consuming as they engage with the exhibition. 

“The fact that [What are you reading?] is a question makes it so you can answer that question for yourself and turn to yourself thinking about the things you’re reading and media you’re consuming,” Beyries said. 

By replicating the appearance of a collaged bedroom wall, the exhibition takes a playful tone meant to draw people into the gallery. 

“[We] wanted to bring the students into the gallery,” Beyries said. “Some people just don’t know about the gallery at all because it’s kind of hidden away.” 

One of the exhibition’s goals is to showcase the gallery’s extensive archive collection, hopefully making it a new and useful resource for many students. 

“Union Gallery is more than art. It can be a resource to students in a lot of different capacities,” Douglas said. 

“I think blending text and visuals from the newsletters together gives a microcosm of what the archives are for Union Gallery and how students can access it.”

Beyries and Douglas’ curation of this exhibition began about a year and a half ago during their time spent as Union Gallery archive volunteers. They hope their work inspires future gallery volunteers to keep What are you reading? going with their own artistic touches. 

“The blueprint of the exhibition can be passed on to volunteers,” Douglas said. 

“It gives them the opportunity to play with something without having to start from absolute scratch—the archives are so rich. You could go on forever.”

The books, images, and writings in What are you reading? demonstrate the importance of art curation and the powerful relationship between art and history. The exhibition holds the potential to showcase both past and present works in a complementary way, illustrating the growth within the artistic community. 

Douglas believes the exhibition also raises attention to how archives can be helpful, showing viewers how necessary they are in the field of art and art curation. She feels that because they’re often out of sight, they’re unfortunately often out of mind. 

“We’re hoping that the exhibition acts as an iceberg effect,” she said. 

“We’re showing the tip of the iceberg of what Union Gallery has, and we’re hoping that through the question, ‘What are you reading?’ students and viewers will explore something that piques their interest.”


Book reading

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